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Flooded Tobacco Crops

It won't be a good year for growing tobacco here in the mountains, heavy rainfall is taking its toll.   

Two flash floods on Tuesday and Wednesday nights rushed through Adrian Presnell's tobacco fields, destroying half his crop.

Presnell makes a lot of his living off of tobacco, about 40 acres of it between fields in the Crabtree Community and others in Waynesville, but courtesy of all our rain, "it's the worst crop of tobacco I've ever grown in 20 years."

He figures 20 acres of his burley tobacco that would have gone into cigarettes, are snuffed out, "at least 60 to 70 thousand dollars worth of damage."

The flash floods came fast, "it just run so hard on the mountain right there when it came off....water goes downhill."

Neighbor Clarine best shows still pictures of the dramatic weather in motion.

Clarine Best, Neighbor, "a flash of lightning and my husband said we better go to the house.  Just in a few minutes this came down."

"It just came down and went cut right through the middle came across this bridge down here."

"I've  never seen this bridge under water but I seen it under water this week."

Presnell says it's just too much water for tobacco to handle, and it literally gets "sick."

Presnell says he'll be lucky to harvest 5 acres of good tobacco out of 40 acres come August and September, all because of too much rain beginning in the spring delaying his planting and now flash floods.

"but it hit us everywhere this year.  We just ain't got no good tobacco nowhere."

Presnell won't take too much of a financial hit since he has insurance and raises cattle that will offset his loss from tobacco.

By Rex Hodge
Follow Rex on Twitter @RexHodgeWLOS


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